Atomic and Molecular Structure, Equilibria, Acids, and Bases
Winter 2016 - This professor makes this class more complicated than it is by teaching more complex concepts than a student introduced to chemistry should be learning. His tests are extremely hard and aren't easy unless you stay in your dorm room studying all day everyday. If you are enrolled in his class, drop the class, and add enroll to a different lecture with a different professor. I wouldn't recommend any student to take his course.
The course was okay. Not the best, but not that bad. Professor Baur lets you take in notes and the book to the midterms and finals. They help a lot, but you still need to study and do all of the readings and problems. Also try and get Kim for your TA. She is the best TA ever. Seriously she is so awesome and explains things really well.
Fall 2019 - Absolutely phenomenal. A lot of the other reviews on here are mixed because they are from last year, Caram's first year teaching 14A. He has improved drastically since. His lectures are engaging. He constantly uses real-world examples to demonstrate how Chemistry actually applies to our everyday lives. You feel like you're learning rather than just memorizing a series of facts. And he has a booming voice that keeps you alert. I didn't truly appreciate this until I listened to Lavelle give a lecture and his soft, British-accented purr nearly rendered me comatose. The only workload is optional practice questions on Sapling and optional practice midterms and finals leading up to the exams. Do them! It's nice that he trusts you to manage your own studying. He gives you everything you need and lets you decide what works best for you. And the exams are definitely fair. He offers so much partial credit that even if you don't know what you're doing but do the stoichiometry and show all your work, you'll be fine. And the TA's! Take advantage of their office hours. I really, really mean this: the TA's in this class are one-of-a-kind brilliant. PROTIP: Share Sapling with a buddy or five and split the cost.
Spring 2020 - FOR CHEM14AE SPRING 2020: From the pandemic to the recent tension affecting our lives and communities, this quarter has been particularly challenging for all of us. While many professors have adjusted their courses and attitudes to fit the obstacles many students are currently facing, few have been as kind and accommodating as Dr. Casey. There is no other class that students are taking in which the instructional team rejoices in class memes, offers office hours on the weekend, struggles with balloons for our education’s sake and understands, uplifts and encourages all of us to succeed. When I look back on how much we’ve learned over the past quarter, we have done an exceptional amount of learning thanks to the dedication of the instructional team. It is sometimes easy to forget, but at the bare core, professors and TAs do not have a specific obligation to care deeply about student wellbeing or pay an extraordinary amount of detail in creating intentional and meaningful coursework, especially for an online pilot class during a turbulent time in our society! However, Dr. Casey and the TAs/LAs have gone above and beyond in purposefully and passionately fulfilling those additional duties this quarter, all while cultivating a positive environment during class. Dr. Casey mentioned some time during the quarter that in the best case scenario, she hoped that all of us would end the class thinking chemistry is fun. Well, after Chem14AE with her, I’m glad to say that chemistry is fun (most of the time)! Although I personally really like the quarter system, this is one of the few times I actually wish we were on the semester system. This class has been my favorite class I have taken at UCLA so far, and I’m actually sad that it is coming to an end so soon. I’ll miss reading everyone’s responses to the opening question, writing sassy responses on the lab worksheets with my team and feeling just a little more happiness in the world when Dr. Casey’s face lights up in fascination from chiweenies, carrots and random chemistry facts. It even gave me the final push to switch my major to something chem-related. What happens in this course truly is the best of UCLA, and why I love going to this school so much. I recommend everyone take this class with her. During a normal quarter, the grade breakdown may be as follows (could change in the future): Surveys 5 points (1%) Homework 50 points (10%) Clicker Questions 40 points (8%) <--you have more than enough opportunities to earn these 40 points Pre-Discussion Quizlet 45 points (9%) <--lowest one is dropped Learn Before Lecture 45 points (9%) <--lowest one is dropped Discussion Worksheets 90 points (18%) <--was made out of 80 points this quarter, there were nine worksheets worth 90 points, you can miss up to 10 points to still get full credit, collaborative with lab group+LA, includes reflections Calibrated Peer Review 30 points (6%) <--was replaced with a group essay this quarter, not too bad, 500-600 words! Quizzes 45 points (9%) <--solitary, timed, closed book/note, lowest quiz is dropped Midterm 50 points (10%) <--collaborative with lab group, open book/note, timed Final Exam 100 points (20%) <--was replaced with a cumulative discussion worksheet this quarter due to academic senate, collaborative with the lab group and class, open book/note, not timed Total 500 points (There are extra credit opportunities provided as well.) This class heavily relies on group work. You'll come to love it and your team. During discussion sections, LAs are placed with teams of four to guide you through the worksheets. This class can be challenging at times if you do not have a strong chemistry foundation, but there is a huge support system and is extremely rewarding. This class covers way more material than the regular Chem14 series but will prepare you for later courses in the series. However, you won't be spending endless hours on weekly assignments, all of which are extremely useful for coming to lecture prepared and doing well in the class. There are less weekly homework assignments than a typical science class because there is an additional hour added to discussions, which might seem terrible on the surface, but you'd rather suffer through the material with help from peers, LAs, TAs and the professor than by yourself late at night. Everything is very intentional and meaningful in this class. You MUST attend lecture. Classes are not recorded. However, you will enjoy coming to class. It's actually fun (even though we were online)! The instructional team does EVERYTHING in its power to try to help you succeed. Don't cut yourself short by not taking advantage of the resources (office hours, study lounges, LA workshops, videos, piazza discussion forum, etc.) they provide. I wish I would have known how amazing this class was going to be (I had zero clue going in), so I could have savored every moment. Good luck!
Like everyone said, this man cannot teach. He's a nice guy, and he'll try to help you, but as far as instructor-student communication, I place no faith in it. His lectures are very short and unorganized; it gets confusing, especially when he's doing calculations -- seems like he's pulling numbers out of thin air. Maybe he's more effective with a one-on-one (I mean, during OH; he ends class early and has it right after), but really, it was a quarter of pure frustration.
Fall 2019 - I had previously taken AP Chemistry and other advanced chemistry classes in high school but Chem 14A with Lavelle was definitely still challenging. The first test was alright, but his midterm and final were pretty difficult. Make sure to go to class because a lot of the seemingly extraneous content he talks about on his slides will end up on future exams. That being said, I thought his exams were a little unfair because a lot of the information he emphasized in lecture wasn't even tested; the things that were tested were small details that required you to study facts about specific compounds. It was doable if you knew the information, but I wish there was more communication about what exactly we should and should not have known. He does provide a lot of review session resources but definitely pick and choose instead of sitting in on sessions where you aren't being challenged (when you could study on your own!). Overall, this class is doable but prepare to dedicate a lot of time into absorbing all the information you can because the exams are pretty unpredictable.
I enjoyed Leung's teaching style/personality so much that I had to take two of his classes. He was a good sense of humor that he attempts to weave into his lectures (very amusing...but corny at times). He knew most of his student's names, which impressed me in a class of 100 or so. Definitely go to office hours and tutoring.
Fall 2016 - I had Li for both 14A and 14B (yay, lucky me)! I got an A- in both courses. Honestly, if you do all the practice problems she gives out (handouts) + her practice midterm (very similar to real exam!!), you should be able to get a 90% at least! She also has extra credit opportunities. I avoided Lavelle at ALL costs because I did not want to get anything lower than an A-. I would HATE to do every textbook problem and suffer so much for no reason? I like to be strategic and pick the most doable courses with the best professors. If she ever teaches, pick her over Lavelle and Scerri! I took AP Chem in 12th grade (I NEVER paid attention). However, in her class, I payed attention, read the textbook, and did the problems. I never really went to OH since I studied with friends and was able to get the answers and reason through them. Like I said, this class should NOT be hard regardless if you took AP Chem or not. If you take Lavelle, you BETTER hope you took AP Chem because he is way harder. If you want to play the game right, get at least an A- or so, and not suffer so much, LI IS THE ONE!!!